San Francisco is known the world over for its beauty, its open-mindedness and its weirdness. So it should be no surprise that the City by the Bay is chock full of strange and unique secrets. Below are just a few of favorites known only to locals, and only the locals that really explore their own back yard. Sure, we could tell you more, but some things have to remain secrets, don’t they?
The Wave Organ
Located on a jetty in the San Francisco marina, the Wave Organ is musical instrument played by the San Francisco Bay itself! Finished in 1986, the instrument is constructed of 25 PVC organ pipes of various lengths that go down beneath the jetty and into the water. As the tide changes, so do the sounds that the Wave Organ makes. It’s a great spot for a little late night make out session, if it’s not freezing cold outside. Interesting fact that might just kill the romantic mood: the jetty is made up of material taken from a demolished cemetery.
The Seward Street Slides
Hidden up in the hills of the Castro are the Seward Street Slides. Constructed of smooth cement, the best way to ride these shoots is to put your butt on a piece of cardboard (often found at the foot of the slides, but bring some just in case) and push off from the top. And if you really wanna go fast, throw in a few handfuls of sand before you go sliding down. One thing to note: the neighbours can be pretty cranky, so if you’re too loud, they’ll come out and harass you a bit, so keep this one literally on the hush-hush.
The San Francisco Columbarium
Before the city of San Francisco began moving all of its cemeteries (including the caskets) down to Colma, the Richmond District had quite a few of them. One was the Odd Fellows Cemetery which the beautiful neo-classical San Francisco Columbarium was a part of. (A columbarium is akin to a mausoleum but used for urns and ashes instead of bodies and caskets.) Now a San Francisco landmark, the SF Columbarium is the final resting places for such local luminaries as Chet Helms (a 1960’s music promoter and the dude who brought Janis Joplin to California) and Harvey Milk
Read more: Stuart Schuffman, Lonely Planet